"Save Rembrandt from the Experts"
Nigel Konstam Exposes the Errors of Modern Rembrandt Scholarship

Fake Titus Drawing Loved by 'Experts'

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Recent video showing Fake drawing of Titus so loved by the Experts (Takes only 2 minutes to watch) by Nigel Konstam

I have registered my plea not to reappoint Sir Nicholas Serota as director of the Tate Gallery after 21 years in the job! You will find it on YouTube. I feel it is necessary to make a similar declaration about art historians dealing with ancient art. Having scored a million hits with this site in the last 3 years I find it strange that I have received no feedback, questions or requests for the DVD from Rembrandt scholars, not one. They are clearly determined to go on as they have done: destroying Rembrandt as they go. Some stronger medicine is required. I have chosen to start with Professors Slive and Benesch because as past professors of Harvard they are clearly out of the top draw . They represent the best art history can produce.

See the video - (Same as above)

The education of the art historians ill fits them for the job we expect of them. Inadvertently they have nearly destroyed Rembrandt, “one of the greatest artists of all time..... unmatched range,depth and human sympathy” (writes Prof.S.Slive). I do not exaggerate, in my life-time Rembrandt has dropped from number one among artists to a position where he does not even appear in the list of the top 30. Over half his paintings and drawings have been de attributed for no good reason and his stock as a human being to be trusted, if not revered, has dropped like a stone. As a result of the scholars efforts The Wall Street Journal had this to say about him. “ Rembrandt van Rhijne was a money changer in the temple of art, he bought and sold.....

After The Burlington Magazine (Feb 1977)published my article . I was invited to lecture at Harvard (at my own expense) where the whole faculty was more or less devoted to Rembrandt and his school . I told them then what I had written and a bit more. The lecture was not well received as you can imagine. After an initial burst of fury it was quickly forgotten. Though there must have been 30 doctoral students present I have heard nothing from any of them since. I have been treated as a pariah by Rembrandt scholars. The RRP. twice refused my offer to come and speak to them in Amsterdam. I have run a Save Rembrandt (from the experts) Campaign, and published 3 campaign newspapers . My book on Rembrandt has circulated among 30 publishers without finding one brave enough to publish it. Phaidon first accepted and then refused after receiving a vile reader's report. I have continued to lecture whenever possible. (Once I was even paid to do so.)

Please bare this history in mind if you find me uncharitable towards art historians. I see what I see as the result of training as a sculptor in the old school. The art historians do not see what the rest of us see as the result of their training - in the not so new school of Wolfflin. In the 35 years since I made my discovery of Rembrandt's use of models and mirror the establishment have done everything in their power to stop the circulation of this new knowledge. Many examples of how this is done can be found in the British Museum's Catalogue of Remberandt's drawings. A whole team of experts is lined up to deny the obvious truth in what I say. From their behaviour over the last 35 years I think it highly unlikely that they will ever find the will to reform themselves. Reform must be forced upon them, or better still artists should reclaim their lost initiative as historians of art. They will make a much better job of it than our art historians; simply because they know what they are talking about. But this must happen soon before all traces of art as it was has disappeared.

When I was a student at Camberwell (1956) we students made it our business to see all the great sculpture we could. It was not a compulsory chore as now, when taught by art historians. It was considered a necessity. We needed to see where we had come from, in order to know where we wanted to go. We saw ourselves as a part of a great tradition to which we hoped to make some contribution.

By now people have forgotten that this attitude was the norm for the past 40,000 years; the norms have changed that much. We were not straining to create some novelty as every student must today. Pathetic novelties are haled as the cutting edge of evolution but alas, genuine evolution is not that easy, it happens rather rarely. Our culture can no longer distinguish good from bad thanks to the misguidance of art history (see video). So we have to content ourselves with what is new (and usually trite).


We speak of paradigm shifts as if they were as easy to accomplish as a gear change but for an establishment scholar faced with the paradigm shifts required to come to a sensible understanding of Rembrandt they are closer to an earthquake. No Rembrandt scholar is going to voluntarily subject themselves and their colleagues lives to such a catastrophe. If they did they would be left without a highly prestigious field of expertise with very little hope of recovering it within a life-time because their training has misdirected their vision. They cannot see the wood for the trees.

I am addressing myself to the up and coming generation who must surely see that it would be madness to study Rembrandt under the old regime; it is far to full of holes. The refusal of the establishment to enter into discussion is indication enough of the weakness of their case. To follow that weaknesses see “The Mirrors” section for their absurdly impractical and fictitious theory of Rembrandt's development as a draughtsman - for the mistaken idea that Rembrandt, the great master of imagination was capable of drawing from his inner vision “as if he had seen them (the biblical scenes) in reality” see the section on “Imagination” - for the mistaken idea that masters can achieve their dreams directly without going through the usual process of trial and error, and in Rembrandt's case, observation - see “Job”.

These three fundamental errors have gravely distorted our image of Rembrandt who is by far the most important landmark in the evolution of our vision of the human condition.

Are we really prepared to put up with this state of affairs to save a very few experts from discomfort? They have undermined Rembrandt's life's work, they have shuffled in a number of minor students to fill the gaps they have created, they have stood his artistic philosophy on its head and cast aspersions on his character. A final complaint against the experts has to be mentioned, as far as the drawings are concerned - their connoisseurship is deplorable. How could they have overlooked such masterpieces as The Deathbed of David or Isaac (refusing to bless Esau) for 80 years?


  • 08:14 - 16.02.2010

    Nigel's new YouTube Video comments on the Getty Exhibition of 2010 Rembrandt and Bol

  • 10:29 - 24.11.2008

    Take link to see video
    Recent video (Takes only 2 minutes to watch) by Nigel Konstam

  • 10:57 - 04.07.2008

    See Nigel's YouTube Contribution to the campaign to unseat Sir Nicholas from his 21 Year reign at the Tate Gallery London. Sir Nicholas Serota Considers a New Aquisition for the Tate Gallery

    Take this link

  • 23:00 - 11.07.2007

    Follow this Fast Track Introduction to gain a quick overview of the controversy surrounding Rembrandt scholarship.  Or use the menu on the left for exploring the ideas in greater depth

    The Story of a Discovery
    Written by Nigel Konstam
    Edited by Nancy Grossman-Telfer

    Recently Rembrandt scholars have reduced the number of drawings and paintings that they accept as being by Rembrandt by between 50% and 70%. A massive change of opinion from scholars in the past. Why has this happened and where does the truth lie? I have studied this problem for over 35 years. I have come to the conclusion that we are dismissing works that are truly by Rembrandt because of a misunderstanding of his character as an artist.



    PART I: Crude Fake attributed to Rembrandt (2 Minutes)

    PART II: Genuine brilliant Rembrandt attributed to a Dull Student (2 minutes)

    Adoration of the Shepherds YouTube video


    YouTube Video - The Adoration of the Shepherds

    YouTube video challenging Sir Nicholas Serota's directorship of the Tate Gallery

    The Blindness of the Experts: Rembrandt and Bol




    This Six Chapter DVD Nigel Konstam reveals Rembrandt's working methods, creative process, interests and values. Nigel takes a critical look at how the Great Master has been reinvented by modern art scholars.

    1. INTRODUCTION - In which we see how scholars' expectations of genius lead to the loss of great works of art. Looking at style rather than human content misleads. -INTRODUCTION -THE DEATHBED OF DAVID -THE VIRGIN AND CHILD
    3. IMAGINATION - Shows how what we admire in Rembrandt's work is observed from life, and what leads scholars to disqualify is made up -ISAAC AND ESAU -REMBRANDT MISUNDERSTOOD -THE LION HUNT
    4. MIRRORS - The use of mirrors proves that Rembrandt did indeed draw from life and challenges present methods of dating works of art. -MUSICIANS, -MUMMERS, -TWO DRAWINGS (Woman in North Holland Dress) -MANY DRAWINGS (Hagar series) -CONCLUSIONS
    5. CHRIST RAISING A SICK WOMAN Rembrandt's interests and working method
    6. THE UNWORTHY WEDDING GUEST Rembrandt shows us the inner thougts of his characters and his own creative process
    New for 2010 The Adoration of the Shepherds - Nigel Compares two oil paintings by Rembrandt - one of which has been de-attributed and demonstrates that one is a mirror image of the other.

    Nigel would like to make a TV documentary to make the position of Rembrandt scholarship better known. His DVD is available now free of charge to anyone interested in making the documentary. (Running time about 1 hour total). The DVD takes the arguments presented here much further. Nigel Konstam, the author and discoverer of the above is available for consultation or participation in the project.













    LINKS: Rembrandt , Nigel Konstam , mirrors , modern criticism , Adoration , THE DEATHBED OF DAVID , THE VIRGIN AND CHILD ,JOB AND HIS COMFORTERS , ISAAC AND ESAU   MUMMERS Hagar series  THE UNWORTHY WEDDING GUEST , David anoints Solomon , Museum of Artist's SecretsNancy Grossman-Telfer

  • 23:00 - 09.04.2007


    The recent 2 x 60min Channel 4 documentary (shown July 21st, 28th 2007)
    (made by Lion Television) including Nigel Konstam's contribution to our understanding of the art of ancient Greece (the revolutionary demonstration of why we can be certain that Phidias and his workshop used body casts as the basis of there life-size, sculptural compositions) in Part II.

    You can see the whole story in my book;- SCULPTURE, the Art and the Practice, 2nd edition ISBN 0 – 9523568 or, less completely, on the website www.verrocchio.co.uk

  • 09:53 - 12.10.2007

    Click here to watch 5 minute video on the Adoration

    National Gallery Rejects The Adoration

     National Gallery Rejects The Adoration - see video on its web site

    There are two versions of The Adoration of the Shepherds, one in Munich and the second in the National Gallery (London). Both were once attributed to Rembrandt: The Munich version is still a Rembrandt. The London version has been de-attributed by the Rembrandt Research Project (RRP) in spite of the fact that the National Gallery experts examination of the materials confirmed that the painting was from Rembrandt's studio. The object of this demonstration is to prove that the London painting is truly a Rembrandt though the RRP insists that this version cannot possibly be by him.

    See Large image

    On the right of the photograph you see a maquette made from the figures and architecture in the Munich painting, that Rembrandt observed and painted direct from life. A cow and a basket also form a part of the composition.

    The reflected part of the photograph you see in the mirror (on the left) matches up with the subject matter of the London painting to such a degree that we cannot doubt that Rembrandt (or whoever else was painting from Rembrandt's precise position) painted what he saw in the mirror. As the use of a mirror can be demonstrated many times in Rembrandt's accepted drawings it is most rational to assume that Rembrandt stayed in the same position and painted both paintings; probably concurrently, with the same palette and brushes.

    It is amusing to note that while the humans are static, only the cow moved: the hats of the figures remain the same, the basket on the post is seen in elevation in the Munich version and in plan in the London version, the lantern is still carried by the man with the broad brimmed hat, lots of tiny details are transmuted but most of all the infinitely complex space relationship between the figures remains constant.

    By understanding the extreme complexity of the task of constructing the London subject from the Munich painting, we can be certain that a mirror was used.(This is no simple print image. It is a reversal of a new point of view of the same very complex, three dimensional group we see in the Munich painting.) From this understanding we not only regain a lost Rembrandt, we demonstrate that the impressionistic style of the London painting is also Rembrandt's. Thus widening the stylistic spectrum that has been imposed arbitarily by the RRP.

    Furthermore it is proved that Rembrandt worked from a theatrical-type production. I believe he set up live models dressed with costumes (mentioned in his inventory of 1656) in the adoration paintings, I believe the scene was staged in a barn. These tableaux-vivants, the very life's blood of Rembrandt's work as artist and teacher, are implicitly denied by the RRP and their followers, who are keepers of Rembrandt drawings in the museums: a fundamental error, which invalidates many of the experts' judgements over the last 100 years.



    Two legitimate questions may arise from this demonstration 1. did mirrors of this size exist in Rembrandt's time? Answer � not made from one sheet of glass � this large mirror was probably made of polished metal. And 2. Why should he work from an inadequate reflection of his models when he had a group to observe direct from life? Answer � Rembrandt was not alone in the barn. There are student versions of this same scene, both drawn and painted, that show that students were working side by side with the master, each with their own individual viewpoint. This would have inhibited Rembrandt's freedom to move himself or change the group of models. Alternatively, it may just be Rembrandt's explorative spirit that drove him to this single experiment, which he never repeated in painting, but many times while drawing.



    If you have doubts please look at the rest of this website before submitting your questions.

    It is my belief that the other end of the spectrum of style in Rembrandt's paintings should also be redefined by testing a painting in The Wallace Collection: The Uncharitable Servant. This painting was once the most highly valued Rembrandt in the world. It has been described as Rembrandt at the extreme limits of his ability, it is not typical of Rembrandt but Rembrandt is a most varied artist and we need to define the outer limits of his variability as precisely as possible. If The Uncharitable Servant, was put through autoradiographic tests this would show us the way the painting had been built up right from the original drawing on canvas, thus establishing a clear attribution. The result of this could be to re-inflate Rembrandt's oeuvres and reputation back to where they both stood 50 years ago. If the London painting turns out not to be a Rembrandt the case for widening the spectrum towards a loose impressionistic style remains imperative.



Current Rembrandt Scholarship....